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Programs

New and Junior Faculty

We encourage all New and Junior Faculty with up to four years of teaching experience at USD to attend all of our workshops and events. Certain CEE events are specifically designed with new and junior faculty in mind. These opportunities allow time for networking and informal conversation. The first week of each semester we offer our New Faculty Social at an off-campus location. This is a time meet new colleagues, and enjoy good food and dialogue. Additionally, at the end of the fall semester, we offer a new faculty holiday social to introduce and engage with campus resource personnel. In May we gather for a final session to reflect on the academic year and to examine the experiences of new faculty with the intention to design and improve new faculty support mechanisms. Visit our Blackboard Course containing resources for new faculty including classroom management mentorship videos produced by Magna Publications.

Adjunct Faculty

We encourage all new and continuing adjunct faculty to attend any or all of our workshops and events. We have special events specifically designed with adjunct faculty in mind. These are our Fall Welcome and Orientation usually held in mid-August, our special half day workshops in January as well as our Adjunct Reception usually held in April. Come join us to meet new colleagues, get connected with others on the USD campus, and enjoy good food and dialogue. Visit our Adjunct Corner section for resources gathered especially for our part-time and adjunct faculty.

Faculty & Professional Learning Communities

What is a Faculty/Professional Learning Community?

A Faculty Learning Community is a group of 6-12 multidisciplinary faculty who meet frequently (e.g., monthly or every 2-3 weeks) for a 6-12 month program. The purpose of this type of faculty development program is to encourage faculty to engage in an active, collaborative seminars and activities that provide learning and development, scholarship of teaching and learning, and community building. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) include staff and/or graduate students. Community is often missing in higher education, where connections across disciplines and institutional units are overlooked. Faculty and Professional Learning Communities (FLCs and PLCs) help establish these connections and achieve increased interest in teaching and learning, retention, active learning, rate of intellectual development and civic contributions to the common good. Safety and support is engendered in the community that enables risk taking and the achievement of both individual and team objectives. There is evidence that FLCs and PLCs provide deep learning that encourage and supports faculty and staff to investigate, attempt, and adopt new methods of teaching and mentoring. It is also the goal of an FLC or PLC to create a product, such as a presentation or publication about the findings that participation in the community allowed. Research assessing the impact of faculty development interventions has noted that professional learning communities are among the most effective means of influencing positive outcomes for those involved in such project-based communities of practice (Chism, Harris & Holley, 2011).

2015-2016 Professional Learning Community

Implementing “Just in Time Teaching” into Your Courses: Focusing on Social Justice in Current Events

Just-in- Time Teaching (JiTT) is a teaching and learning strategy designed to promote the use of class time for more active learning. Developed by Gregor Novak and colleagues, JiTT relies on a feedback loop between web-based learning materials (online news articles, discussion boards for example) and the classroom (Novak et al., 1999). Students prepare for class by reading from the textbook or using other resources posted to the web and by completing assignments online. These assignments often have complex answers; students’ work outside class serves as preparation for more complete work in class. Importantly, JiTT allows the instructor to create an interactive classroom environment that emphasizes active learning and cooperative problem solving. This topic-based faculty learning community will meet monthly for one academic year. The goals of the FLC will developed by the group but may include:

  • Read and discuss relevant literature on implementing JiTT with current social justice themes in various academic disciplines
  • Explore the range of courses and programs that are currently a part of campus
  • Encourage individual and collaborative research projects both for faculty and students
  • Build community among faculty as they develop strategies to use in their courses or in developing new courses
  • Implement a SOTL project to measure student engagement and learning

Contact Sandra Sgoutas-Emch, Director for the Center for Educational Excellence with any questions.  (x 7402; emch@sandiego.edu )

Previous Faculty & Professional Learning Communities

2012 – 2013 Professional Learning Community – Changemaking at USD

USD has been designated as an AshokaU Changemaker Campus, one of only 15 institutions in the United States and Mexico. Because of the increasing number and complexity of the world’s problems, USD and Ashoka realize that far more changemakers are needed to become the architects of a sustainable, just and flourishing society. The university is a perfect institution to help develop the next generation of leaders, because it brings together a diversity of stakeholders and expertise and has the potential to develop curriculum that educates and supports students to become agents of change. To help expand and/or enhance USD’s current curricular opportunities, a professional learning community has been proposed.

This topic-based professional learning community met monthly to:

  • Read and discuss relevant  literature on implementing a social change/ innovation/entrepreneurship curriculum in various academic disciplines
  • Explore the range of courses and programs that are currently a part of campus and how these might be better integrated and expanded
  • Encourage individual and collaborative research projects for both faculty and students
  • Build community among faculty as they develop strategies to use in their courses or in developing new courses and programs

2012 – 2013 Faculty Learning Community – Building Our Diversity Curriculum

Diversity can be described in many ways but the current D curriculum at USD is limited in its scope, inconsistent in its quality and usually one-dimensional. Expanding our definition of diversity and developing more focused and relevant learning outcomes are important steps to helping our campus become a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all our students. As the USD campus reexamines its Core curriculum, now is an ideal time and this FLC is a good opportunity to imagine more integrative courses. 


2013 – 2014 Faculty Learning Community – Flipping Your Classroom

Traditionally lectures have focused on the question of “What will the professor be telling me today.” In a flipped environment, this structure is reversed. The instructor moves away from a teaching-centered approach to a learner-centered approach. Planning starts with the question “What do the students need to do?” This method of pedagogy literally flips the classroom experience (Magna Online Seminar February 12, 2013:  The Flipped Approach to a Learner-Centered Class).  What is ultimately flipped in a flipped classroom is how the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy are reached inside and outside of one’s classroom.   Therefore, the learning outcomes for outside of class are focused on the lower levels of Bloom's taxonomy (like knowledge & comprehension) and the learning outcomes to be met inside the classroom, when the instructor is available for support, are at a higher level (like analysis & synthesis).

This exciting method of pedagogy allows the instructor to create an environment that engages students, enhances learning, and creates an exciting classroom atmosphere. However, in order to implement such a method, faculty need a new set of tools and skills. Courses need to be completely or partially redesigned to accommodate and successfully implement such a change in classroom pedagogy.
Flipping the classroom has been implemented in thousands of classrooms across the world and is even practiced here at USD. As delivery of content is changing in Higher Education, now is an ideal time and this FLC is a good opportunity to imagine more innovative and engaging courses. This topic-based faculty learning community met monthly to:

  • Read and discuss relevant literature on implementing a flipped classroom approach either for the entire course or just specific activities
  • Give faculty the opportunity to work with others who are interested in:
    • Collaborating in researching this type of pedagogy
    • Developing deep learning in-class activities that include real world problems and connect to other contexts like ethics and culture
    • Developing strategies to introduce flipping to students 
    • Support system for trying out a new pedagogy
  • Research and try out the technology and other resources and tools (often free like Google online collaboration tools, screencast magic, YouTube, Parlor, Diigo…) that can be used to flip a classroom
  • Develop more student-student and student-professor engagement
  • Encourage individual and collaborative research projects both for faculty and students
  • Build community among faculty as they develop strategies to use in their courses or in developing new courses

2012 – 2013 Faculty Learning Community – Diversity as defined by Sexuality: Investigating Curricula Options at a Catholic Institution

Diversity can be described in many ways but often the focus on our campus has been on issues of race, ethnicity and gender. Expanding our definition of diversity to include sexuality is an important step to making our campus a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all our students. As the USD campus reexamines its Core curriculum, now is an ideal time and this FLC is a good opportunity to imagine more integrative courses. This topic-based faculty learning community continues to meet monthly to:

  • Read and discuss relevant  literature on implementing sexuality curriculum in various academic disciplines
  • Explore the range of courses and programs that are currently a part of campus
  • Encourage individual and collaborative research projects both for faculty and students
  • Build community among faculty as they develop strategies to use in their courses or in developing new courses

2011-2012 Professional Learning Community- The Spirit of the Academy: Investigating the Traditions and Practices of Diverse Spiritualities

On the USD campus, a rich and diverse range of spiritualities and spiritual traditions are present among our students and employees. USD recently celebrated the 18th annual All Faith Service to acknowledge and celebrate this fact. USD’s newly instituted Living-Learning Community model includes a “Divine Living-Learning Community” which is designed for students to “investigate questions of ultimate meaning while growing in their own faith.” In teaching and mentoring undergraduate students, the work of professors and staff may beckon for a way to intersect spirituality in an academic way. This topic-based faculty learning community met monthly to:

  • Read and discuss relevant  literature on spirituality in various academic disciplines
  • Explore the range of ways spiritualities and spiritual traditions and practices on campus
  • Encourage individual and collaborative research projects both for faculty and students
  • Participate in off-campus activities or retreats
  • Build community among faculty as they develop strategies to use in their courses

Contact Information

Center for Educational Excellence
Camino 1F 5998
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110

Phone: (619) 260-7402
Fax: (619) 849-8353
cee@sandiego.edu